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Powerful Tools for Caregivers | Wilder Healthy Aging & Caregiving Education

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Join us at Powerful Tools for Caregivers®, a free, in-person class with weekly sessions that helps caregivers:

Caregiver Helpbook for Powerful Tools for Caregivers class
  • Improve self-care behaviors such as exercise, relaxation and medical care
  • Improve emotional management including reducing guilt, anger and depression
  • Increase self confidence in coping with the demands of caregiving

While any caregiver is welcome to attend, this class is geared towards those caring for someone with Parkinson's Disease.

Schedule: Wednesdays, May 25 - June 29, 2022 | 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: Wilder Center
451 Lexington Parkway North, Saint Paul, MN 55104
This class will meet in person with safety precautions for COVID-19. No class on Wednesday, June 8. 

Cost of the Powerful Tools for Caregivers class:
No charge, but donations are accepted and appreciated. Respite is available for a fee. Participants will receive a copy of The Caregiver Helpbook. 

You can also sign up by phone or email by contacting our program coordinator Melissa Gibbs, LISW:
651-280-2515 | caregiving@wilder.org

Further instructions will be sent out to those who register.

Juniper Program by Trellis

This class is offered by Wilder and sponsored by the Capistrant Foundation. The class is also supported by Juniper, a statewide network that helps people manage chronic health conditions, prevent falls, and foster well-being. 

Sections

Powerful Tools for Caregivers: About the Six-Session Classes

Class #1:  Taking Care of You

This class sets the stage for the entire course.  It emphasizes that the focus is on “YOU, the caregiver, not on the family member receiving care,” and that caregivers will develop a “box of self-care tools.”  The challenges of caregiving and significance of caregiver self-care are underscored through viewing a DVD.  Beginning in this class, caregivers make a weekly action plan for self-care.

Class #2:  Identifying and Reducing Personal Stress

Four steps are presented for effective stress management:  (1) Identifying early warning signs, (2) Identifying personal sources of stress, (3) Changing what you can change and accepting what you cannot change, and (4) Taking action.  Tools to reduce stress are discussed.  Participants learn how to change negative self-talk – which increases stress and erodes confidence – to positive self-talk.  Beginning in this class, caregivers learn five relaxation activities that are easy to incorporate into their daily lives.

Class #3:  Communicating Feelings, Needs, and Concerns

Participants learn how to communicate their feelings, needs and concerns more effectively by using “I” messages.  Through brief dramatizations, participants experience the impact of both “I” messages and “You” messages (which tend to sound blaming and put people on the defensive).  They practice changing “You” messages to “I” messages, and identifying when statements beginning with the word “I” are actually “Hidden You” messages.

Class #4:  Communicating in Challenging Situations

Participants practice two communication tools – assertiveness and Aikido – which are helpful in difficult situations.  They learn a four-step process, called DESC (Describe, Express, Specify, and Consequence) for using the assertive style of communication.  With Aikido, participants learn how to align and find “common ground” with a person who is distressed.  A segment highlights guidelines for communicating with a person who is memory impaired.

Class #5:  Learning From Our Emotions

The overriding theme of this class is “our emotions are messages we need to listen to.”  It emphasizes that feelings occur for a reason and that feelings are neither good nor bad.  Focus is on identifying constructive ways for dealing with difficult feelings – especially anger, guilt, and depression – and resources for professional help.

Class #6:  Mastering Caregiving Decisions

Focus is on the internal emotional process caregivers go through when they experience a life change.  Tools for dealing with changes and for making tough decisions – including a seven-step decision-making model and the family meeting – are discussed.

For information about this class, visit: www.powerfultoolsforcaregivers.org